Please welcome USA TODAY bestselling author Heidi Rice to the virtual offices today! Heidi dropped by to give us the dets on her latest release, Too Close for Comfort.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Heidi Rice] Film buff, romance junkie, wife of good guy, mum of 2 not-always-good sons who lives in London & has weakness for bad boys & eye candy!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Too Close for Comfort?
[Heidi Rice] Too Close for Comfort is my first Harlequin KISS novel and actually a linked book to my last book to go out in Harlequin Presents Extra, One Night, So Pregnant. The hero Zane Montoya is a Mexican-American Private Investigator who owns his own firm in Carmel – and is one of those guys who’s so gorgeous he stops traffic. He’s effortlessly charming, exceptionally hot and totally confident with women – a bit too confident really, because in reality he has used his charm, his looks and his sex appeal as a means of keeping the women he dates at a distance. In other words, his hotness is a barrier to emotional intimacy. That is until he catches Iona MacCabe, a Scottish wildlife artist, trying to break in to the motel room of a con-man he’s been trailing for months. Iona’s presence threatens to blow his case – so he’s determined to ‘contain’ her. What he hasn’t bargained for though is his reaction to her – and how her honesty and bravery and vulnerability not only gets past his guard, but eventually manages to blast all the carefully constructed and maintained barricades he’s built around his heart to smithereens.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Heidi Rice] As I mentioned, Zane had appeared in One Night So Pregnant – as the best friend of my hero in that book, Nate Graystone. At that point all I knew about him was that he was so hot he made women drool – and he was Nate’s illegitimate half-brother – something the two of them had known since childhood but never acknowledged, because Zane had a lot of hidden rage towards their father. Once I’d met Zane I knew I would have to write his story. I wanted to find out where the rage came from, and if he could overcome it – and for that I needed a heroine for him who would be able to push past all his charm and confidence and control and expose the wounded man beneath. Iona was a natural for that, partly because she had a few self-esteem issues of her own – her mother had abandoned her and her dad when she was still a child, and she’d been sexually exploited by a con-man. As a result of her past experiences, she’s immediately wary of Zane’s charm and intimidated by his looks, so he has to work a lot harder than usual to gain her trust. Also she’s got an innocence and honesty about her that Zane, who has always felt the need to protect women after what his father did to his mother, can’t help but be captivated by.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Iona?
[Heidi Rice] Tough, tender, cautious
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Zane had a theme song, what would it be?
[Heidi Rice] Beneath Your Beautiful – a hauntingly beautiful soul ballad by Labrinth featuring Emilie Sandé. When Labrinth sings ‘Take it off now girl, I want to see inside. Would you let me see beneath you’re beautiful, tonight?’ the line perfectly describes what’s happening when Zane first seduces Iona. He knows she’s had her confidence knocked by her previous sexual partner and he wants to show her she’s beautiful to him. But once they’ve slept together, he realises how vulnerable she actually is – and how determined she is to hide that vulnerability – and it scares him, because it makes him feel responsible in a way he never has before, and that makes him vulnerable. There’s also a brilliant answering lyric sung by Emilie Sandé which tears my heart out every time I hear it and perfectly describes Zane – and what Iona eventually discovers about him – and that line is: ‘Behind your Broadway Show, I hear a boy say “please don’t hurt me”’ Sheesh, tearing up here again!!
Here’s the YouTube link: http://youtu.be/bqIxCtEveG8
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Iona is never without.
[Heidi Rice] Her battered and much-loved box of art supplies which she uses to create the beautiful watercolours she paints of flora and fauna.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Zane’s bathroom?
[Heidi Rice] 1) Wet towels on the floor – his mother Maria became a single parent at the age of 16 and worked as a housekeeper, so she trained him very well as a kid to clean up his own mess!
2) An empty shelf where the condoms should be – he doesn’t take chances with birth control and always practices safe sex.
3) Women’s junk – because he’s never had a woman stay over more than one night at a time…. Well, that is until he starts to fall for Iona!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Iona’s greatest regret?
[Heidi Rice] That she couldn’t get her mother to love her enough when she was a little girl…
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Heidi Rice] Movies which feature bad boy heroes and the women who love them – On the Waterfront with Marlon Brando & Eva Marie Saint, East of Eden with James Dean, The Long Hot Summer with a young and in-love Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, and more recently Django Unchained with Jamie Foxx are just a few I could name, but they are legion!
Great romance writers – Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Linda Howard, Queen Nora, Jennie Cruisie, Diana Gabaldon, Victoria Dahl, Robin Gibson are just some of my favourites.
And most of all my Dad, Peter Rice. Born in Ireland, he was a world renowned structural engineer, a brilliantly lateral thinker, and a wonderfully lyrical man who believed whole heartedly in the power of listening to your ideas. He wrote a book about his work just before his death 20 years ago in which he said: “The courage you need is the courage to start.” When it comes to creative influences, I couldn’t have one any greater than him. Cheers, Dad!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Heidi Rice] Quiet, my Mac and the voices of my hero and heroine talking in my head.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Heidi Rice] Well, I’ve read a lot of books recently that I’ve really enjoyed – I’m currently devouring Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series – but my last bona fide sock-knocker-offer would have to be the first Outlander book by Diana Gabaldon. I’ve loved all the other Outlander books too that I’ve read so far, but that first one… Pwoah! It was quite simply mind-blowing. If you want to know exactly what I thought of it you can check out my Goodreads review here:
But be warned, there is a disgusting amount of gushing involved.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Heidi Rice] SE Hinton’s The Outsiders age twelve… Hmmm, am suddenly beginning to see where the whole bad boy vibe might have come from.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Heidi Rice] I love watching movies, in fact my ‘other’ job is as a film journalist. I also love socialising, going out dancing, eating delicious food usually cooked by my husband (unfortunately for my waistline!), watching good TV shows (am currently watching Breaking Bad series 4) and travelling – especially in the US where I go on a road trip every couple of years with my best mate.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Heidi Rice] My email is Heidi@heidi-rice.com
I’m on Twitter (far too much) @HeidiRomRice
My web addy is www.heidi-rice.com
And I’m also on Facebook (again, far too often) at http://www.facebook.com/heidi.rice.524
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
You can purchase Too Close for Comfort or any of Heidi’s releases from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below:
About the book:
About the author:
USA Today bestselling author Heidi Rice lives in London, England. She is married with two teenage sons (which gives her rather too much of an insight into the male psyche) and also works as a film journalist. She adores writing romance because it involves getting swept up in a world of high emotions, sensual excitement, funny feisty women, sexy tortured men and glamourous locations where laundry doesn’t exist. Then she has to turn off her computer and do chores (usually involving laundry!)